The US newspaper publisher Gannett, which owns the UK regional publisher Newsquest, has reported the best ad revenue performance at its publishing arm in three years and has unveiled a major ad partnership with Yahoo.
Craig Dubow, chief executive of Gannett, said that its publishing division had benefitted from cost cutting and lower newsprint expenses in its second quarter results published today.
“In our publishing segment this quarter was the best comparison quarter for advertising revenues since mid-2007,” he said. “We benefited from continuing efficiency efforts company-wide as well as lower newsprint expense.”
Gannett, which publishes USA Today and more than 80 other newspapers as well as running 600 magazines and 23 TV stations, said that ad revenue at its publishing division fell 5.7% year on year. Circulation revenue fell 5.9%.
Ad revenues were 4.6% lower in the USA and 6.4% down, in pounds, at Newsquest. The company said that figures in June, which show ad revenues down just 3.6%, were the best comparison “since early 2007”.
Newsquest, which owns titles including Glasgow-based the Herald, saw classified ad reveue fall 6.8%, national ad revenue drop 11% and retail advertising fall 4.4%.
Gannett used its results to announce a local advertising partnership with Yahoo. All of Gannett’s 81 local publishing organisations and seven of its broadcasting division sites will sell Yahoo advertising inventory.
Gannett reckons the partnership, which “may” include providing “select local content for programming across Yahoo sites in the US”, will extend its local media organisation reach to cover “as much as” 80% of the total digital audience in the markets it operates.
“Working with Yahoo will allow us to offer targeted advertising messages with unmatched local audience reach,” said Gracia Martore, president at Gannett.
Dubow pointed to Gannett’s broadcast and digital divisions as the real drivers of growth, while a positive result for the embattled publishing division was continuing to achieve “moderating revenue declines”.
“Our strong results this quarter reflect very positive revenue trends for our broadcast and digital segments and moderating revenue declines in publishing as we continued to close the revenue gap in the quarter,” he said. “Stronger core advertising demand and increased political spending drove revenue growth in broadcasting while positive revenue results at CareerBuilder and PointRoll contributed to revenue growth in the digital segment”.
Gannett’s digital operation saw revenue increase by 8.3% while the broadcasting unit saw revenues climb by a massive 20.3% year on year.
Overall Gannett saw net profits rise 35.7% year on year to $146.5m. Total revenues fell 1.6% year-on-year to $1.37bn.